GTA Benefits from Staggered Launches, Call of Duty Loses Out

The series has managed to keep audience interest high

The Grand Theft Auto franchise from Rockstar and Take Two has benefited from the fact that it doesn’t strive to get a game out every year, while the rival Call of Duty series from Activision has been hurt by its regular launch dates, according to the leader of the GTA publisher.

Strauss Zelnick, the chief executive officer at Take Two, tells Gamespot that, “It’s our view that if you want intellectual properties to be permanent, then you run the risk in that circumstance of having consumers fall out of love with that franchise.”

According to the executive, the problem with annual launches is that some faithful decide to stick with last year’s game.

For example, he cites figures that show Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has not sold as well as Modern Warfare 3.

Zelnick adds, “That’s never been the case with one of ours. Ours do better each time. Our view is it’s hard to make permanent intellectual properties if you annualize it, with the exception of sports titles. So far that’s proven to be the case. IP that is annualized eventually seems to hit the wall and we don’t want our IP to hit the wall.”

The entire GTA universe has so far managed to sell more than 125 million units, with the 2008 launch Grand Theft Auto IV generating about 25 million of them.

The annual nature of Call of Duty, with two studios alternating on development duties, does mean that the games are able to generate more overall revenue for publisher Activision.

GTA V is set to arrive on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 during spring 2013, with PC and Wii U versions being also a possibility.

Activision is already planning to launch a new Call of Duty first-person shooter during the fall of 2013.

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